So, Christmas is coming, the Goose is getting fat. I thought I’d put some euros in Jeff Bezo’s hat..
So I decided to try to order some Xbox games as part of my Christmas shopping. I fully expected to get big “DANGER WILL ROBINSON” warnings for all the purchases given Amazon’s decision NOT to sell software or electrical goods into the Irish market for no apparent reason (which I’ve written about before here and here and here and which featured on other blogs last year… here…. and which I brought to the attention of the relevant Government Minister here). I haven’t actually received a response on this yet, over a year later. Shame on me for not chasing it up.
Apparently the XBox game Ratatouille is not the same class of thing as the XBox games “Cars Mater-national” or “the Simpsons”. Now, this puts Amazon across two of my pet bugbears…
- Nonsensical and unexplained restrictions on shipping of goods within the EU (which, in the absence of a REALLY good explanation is probably a breach of EU law)
- Buggered up information quality
If all of the game titles had been restricted I’d have simply shrugged my shoulders and moved on. But they weren’t. This suggests that either:
- The information which Amazon use to classify their games and software is inaccurate or incomplete and allows exceptions through the net (boo hiss)
- OR (worryingly) The restriction on shipping electrical goods, games and software has less to do with the WEEE regulations in Ireland (Amazon’s nonsense excuse) but have more to do with producers seeking to create and maintain artificial market segregation. In the context of a web site selling into Ireland, that could raise issues of EU law and, if it is the case that a number of different manufacturers have made similar requests to Amazon to restrict the Irish Market, then that could be viewed as a cartel-like operation, which is apparently a bad thing.
Not that Amazon would pander to that kind of thing. Gosh no. This has to relate to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations because they define Electrical and Electronic Equipment as:
â€œelectrical and electronic equipmentâ€ means equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such currents and fields falling under the categories set out in Annex IA of European Parliament and Council Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1,000 volt for alternating current and 1,500 volt for direct current;
Yes. That definitely includes inert plastic with encrypted digital information on it (aka a dvd or cd with MS Office or Halo3 on it – take yer pick). Although, if you were particularly pedantic an Xbox game does rely on “electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly”. But only if you are being RIDICULOUSLY pedantic. I am pedantic. I’m renowned for it. Even I wouldn’t stretch things that far…
Either way it is an avoidable and undesirable process outcome, and as it is happening inconsistently it is embarrasing. . It is particularly irksome given that Amazon are basing a Customer Service Call Centre in Cork and have a Service and Operations centre in Dublin and have been applauded by our Government for their investments.. Amazon’s relocation from Slough to Ireland was caught by the BEEB…
I’ve posted on this previously and these posts can be found under the Amazon-Inania category on this blog.